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1986 Chevrolet Camaro:
Air Conditioning Doesn't Work - Bypass Switch?

Alex Steele
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I have an '86 Chevy Camaro with a 2.8 V-6. The air conditioning doesn't work so I want to know where to find the bypass switch for the A/C compressor, if there is one. And, if not, how do I get it to turn on so I can the put refrigerant in the system.




Let's assume that there was a refrigerant leak that you have already repaired, and you now wish to recharge the system. When the system is empty, the A/C compressor will not engage due to what they call a Pressure Cycling Switch located on the accumulator in the right/rear corner of the engine compartment. The cycling switch turns the compressor on and off in order to maintain proper refrigerant pressure.


It will disengage the compressor when pressures drop below 20 to 28psi. When you begin to recharge with the use of a 12oz. can, or a professional charging station, the initial pressure from the source is enough to force the refrigerant into the system. This pressure should also be enough to trigger the Pressure Cycling Switch, engage the compressor, and then draw in the remainder of the refrigerant.


When using the 12oz. can method it sometimes will require immersing the can in hot water in order to build enough pressure to activate the system. There are many other possible causes of the A/C compressor not engaging. Aside from a lack of refrigerant the choices range from a blown fuse to a bad Electronic Control Module (ECM).


Your Camaro was originally equipped with an R-12 refrigerant system. R-12 is very expensive and hard to find since the federal government began fazing it out due to its detrimental affect on the ozone layer. You may want to pick up a conversion kit at your local parts store and install the currently used R-134a refrigerant.

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Get FREE Answers from our Technicians at the Chevrolet Camaro Forum.


28 Jan 2019, 10:08
Check the heater control valve (hot water valve) for proper operation, it may be frozen in the closed position.

Check for vacuum at the valve when commanded to the heat position.

Make sure the heater control door is operating (it is under the dash by the heater core).

Try these suggestions get back to me with more information about the problem we can diagnosis the problem further if needed.
anthony monaco
27 Jan 2019, 23:16


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